Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is a Nintendo 3DSSpin-Off of, interestingly, two franchises: Atlus' Persona and Etrian Odyssey games. The story is written by members of the Team Persona development group, and features a Cross Over between the casts of Persona 3 and Persona 4. But other aspects, such as gameplay and visual design, are taken directly fromEtrian Odyssey. In fact, most of the production staff is from the Etrian Odyssey team, including director Kazuya Niinou and character artist Yuji Himukai.The story revolves around a mysterious tower that is said to bring death to whoever hears its bell. When the tower appears at both Gekkoukan High School in the past and Yasogami High School in the future, the casts of Persona 3 and Persona 4 team up across time to investigate the tower's labyrinth. Along the way, they meet two brand new characters, Zen and Rei, who are connected to the tower.The game was released in Japan on June 5th, 2014. A Western release is planned for November 25, 2014.
Big Brother Instinct: Zen refuses to leave Rei's side, to the point that he loses his stoic attitude when she's in danger. But Teddie seems to think it as a paternal protectiveness, while the others have the romantic vibe from it.
Bonus Boss: In the first playtrough, there are multiple battles against Elizabeth and one battle against Margaret (which unlocks every one's Ultimate Personas). In New Game+, there is a battle against Elizabeth, Margaret and Theodore at the same time and one where you fight against Elizabeth who is possessed by Zeus.
Call Back: Like in Persona 1 and the Persona 2 duology, everyone on the coalition can enter the Velvet Room and, save for Zen and Rei, carry multiple Personas, not just the protagonists. Fuuka and Rise can also carry sub-Personas, which will still gain experience.
While it's also a gameplay mechanic of Etrian Odyssey itself, you can also play with up to five party members, which is true for P1 and both P2 games as well, as opposed to the four member parties of P3 and P4.
Canon Name: Subverted. Regardless of which protagonist you pick (P3 or P4), you have to name both in your file. There are no default names for either the first or second protagonist. Notably, the names what they have been called in the past (Minato Arisato, Makoto Yuuki, Yu Narukami, and Souji Seta) cannot be generated if you let the game select a random name for them (although Sakuya [朔也], the P3 protagonist's first name in The Weird Masquerade, is among the randomly generated names).
Clock Punk: The mysterious tower is filled with fantastical clockwork and gears.
S.E.E.S. have light blue for the Persona 3 protagonist, pink for Yukari, dark blue for Junpei, red for Akihiko, magenta for Mitsuru, green for Fuuka, yellow for Aigis, brown for Koromaru, orange for Ken, and purple for Shinjiro.
The Investigation Team have gray for the Persona 4 protagonist, orange for Yosuke, green for Chie, red for Yukiko, purple for Kanji, pink for Rise, yellow for Teddie, and light blue for Naoto.
Cross Over: The full casts of Persona 3 and Persona 4 end up becoming involved in the mystery of the Labyrinth.
Crutch Character: When Zen and Rei join, they have the highest HP and SP in the party. This is because they're balanced with the Persona-users with Sub-Personas equipped, and Sub Personas aren't unlocked just yet.
Hair-Raising Hare: The boss A Dear Friend (also known as Shadow Rei) is a large, demonic, white rabbit.
Harder Than Hard: The game has one in the form of Risky difficulty. The main differences are that you cannot change difficulty setting if you select it and you get a Game Over if your leader dies. Which means the final boss has to be defeated in 7 turns, because he hits the party with a countdown of instant death spell at the beginning of the fight.
Identity Amnesia: Zen and Rei do not remember who they are. Turns out Zen did it to Rei, while Zen's amnesia is self-inflicted.
I Am Not Left-Handed: Parodied in one skit. In the third stratum of P4 route, P3 hero remarks the dungeon is especially obstructive, he might have to use his right eye. Yosuke latches at the idea said right eye is some kind of Magic Eye, only to be told that the dungeon is so dark and his Peek-a-Bangs only makes things harder.
Zen and Rei can have a large variety of connected meanings in Japanese, none of which turn out to be the actual meanings of the names. It turns out that "Zen" is actually spelt "Zhn" and the full form of Rei's name is "Philé" - The greek words for "living" and "beloved".
Rei's real name, Niko can be read as "the second". As in "the second child" as Niko had an older relative.
An ironic example happens with Yuki, a friend of Niko. The first time she is brought up, her name is written as "there is hope"... on a card which she wrote to Niko after she died.
OOC Is Serious Business: The usually unflappable Mitsuru screams her head off when she faces the Deadly Doctor Shadows referencing Mitsuru being experimented on by scientists under her Grandfather in the backstory of Persona 3.
Mitsuru: STAY AWAAAAYY!!
Original Generation: Despite most of the cast being from Persona 3 and Persona 4, Zen and Rei are brand new characters who debuted in Q.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: The protagonists have a bit of this going on. They're both the calm, collectedleader-types; but the P4 hero has more assertive body language and is quite obviously "The Boss" of his crew, while the P3 hero leans more towards being The Quiet One and acts as the "pillar" of his team rather than leader. In the route where they can speak, P4 hero is more likely to make a quip, while P3 hero takes awhile to warm up. It goes to their teams too; Investigation Team's members take potshots at each other, more open about their secrets, and visibly laidback with it - while many of SEE's members are reserved, there's an air of professionalism between them, and even times where they're borderline hostile.
A bit subtle, but P4 hero always land on his feet after falling from great height unlike the others. Watch everyone's reaction after falling from a trapdoor in the "Soulmate" minigame; he's the only one beside the Velvet Room attendants who's not dazed from the fall.
Stealth Pun: That "Q" letter in the title is shorthand for meikyuu (迷宮), meaning labyrinth, in reference to how Sekaiju no Meikyuu, the Japanese title of the Etrian Odyssey series, is abbreviated as SQ. It also sounds similar to "cute" to reflect the characters' appearances.
Suddenly Voiced: The Persona 3 protagonist, who had no spoken lines in that game.
Super-Deformed: The entire cast appears as smaller, cuter versions of their regular appearances from Persona 3 and Persona 4.
Time Travel: The tower allows the cast of Persona 3 from 2009 and the cast of Persona 4 from 2 years later to meet and team up. Which is why the P3 hero and Shinjiro are still alive.